If you've been charged with any form of robbery, then you should know that it's a very serious charge and carries serious consequences if convicted. In fact, the Criminal Code of Canada prescribes a maximum punishment of life in prison. While such a severe sentence is not usually imposed on first time offenders, it does demonstrate the seriousness with which the criminal law treats this offence. Additionally, in situations where a firearm was used during the commission of the offence, the Criminal Code prescribes a minimum sentence of four years in prison. That means that the judge doesn't have the discretion to reduce the sentence to anything less than four years. The mere fact that this offence carries a minimum sentence is an indication of its seriousness.
At LawyerSelect.ca, we work with some of the best Toronto Robbery Lawyers who have defended countless allegations of robbery, both before a judge-alone trial, as well as a full blown jury trial. You should never plead guilty or accept any deal offered by the Crown Attorney's office before you speak to an experienced and competent Toronto Robbery Lawyer. Let us help you find the right Toronto Robbery Lawyer for your case.
The Criminal Code is pretty specific about what actions constitute a robbery. It states that the crime of robbery occurs when someone commits any of the following acts:
Degree of Violence Used:
Under Canadian criminal law, the level of violence used by the accused upon the victim does not need to be extreme in nature, but must simply meet the standard of what constitutes an assault. However, the assault used on the victim must coincide with the theft or attempted theft. In other words, the assault and the theft should be connected, usually occurring during the same incident. The degree of assault inflicted on the victim doesn't have to lead to any injuries or physical damage to the victim, but must be of a "substantial nature."
The Threat of Violence Explained:
The kinds of words or actions that constitute a "threat of violence" under the law are dependent upon the unique circumstances of each case. In determining whether a particular action or statement made by the accused reaches the level required by law, the trial judge will examine a number of factors, such as:
Other Important Considerations:
Not all robbery offences are equal in severity. There are a number of variables specific to each situation that will either increase or decrease the Crown Attorney's aggressiveness in prosecuting the case. Those are:
Just like with other offences, robbery has both technical, as well as constitutional defences. A well-trained Toronto Robbery Lawyer can help you identify any possible defences you may have to the allegations. At LawyerSelect.ca, we work with a host of Toronto Robbery Lawyers who have the experience and the drive to see your case through right until the very end. Below, we explore a few of the possible defences to a charge of robbery.
Defence of Identity:
It is very common for a person accused of committing robbery to raise the issue of identity. It's not hard to imagine that during the chaos of the robbery, the victim or witness may become confused about the perpetrator's physical appearance, and therefore, are not entirely sure that the accused is, in fact, the person who committed the robbery.
Even seemingly conclusive forms of evidence, like surveillance video, fingerprints, DNA, and gunshot residue, can be challenged. A skilled Toronto Robbery Lawyer will exploit any breaks in the chain of evidence, or raise any alternate theories about how the incriminating evidence got to where it was found. For example, just because an individual's DNA was found at the scene of the crime, does not mean that said individual is guilty of committing the robbery. There can be a multitude of alternative theories which explain the existence of said evidence.
Because of the problem of identifying perpetrators during a robbery, police seek to obtain more conclusive evidence, usually in the form of a confession by the accused. This typically occurs after the accused has been arrested, and is conducted by the investigating officer at the police station. These interviews can get quite heated, and last for a lengthy period of time. Police's main objective during these interviews is to obtain inculpatory statements from the accused, which range from statements admitting that the accused was present at the location in question at the time in question, all the way to a full blown confession. Whatever the information revealed by the accused during their interrogation, police will thoroughly comb through it to see if it leads to the acquisition of further inculpatory evidence. They may also use any information that they've gathered from the accused to obtain a search warrant to search any property owned by the accused that may lead to the discovery of further inculpatory evidence.
However, police need to be cautious not to overstep their authority by breaching the accused's constitutionally protected Charter rights. This can happen in any number of ways, the most common of which result from the failure to provide the accused with their constitutional rights at all stages of the interrogation, or the failure by police to provide the accused with an opportunity to consult and instruct their lawyer of choice before providing a statement. If that's found to be the case by a judge at trial, then an application may be brought by the accused's Toronto Robbery Lawyer to exclude not only the statement given by the accused, but also any evidence seized by the police that was obtained as a direct or indirect result of that statement.
The Canadian criminal law requires that any statement given by an accused person to police must be voluntary in nature. This is sometimes referred to as the "confessions rule" and it requires that the Crown Attorney prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that the statement was given by the accused to police voluntarily. This means that if the police induced, coerced, or oppressed the accused in anyway, the result of which, lead the accused to give the police an inculpatory statement, that statement will be excluded at the accused's trial, as well as any derivative evidence that may have been gathered by the police as a result of that statement. For example, if the police threaten an accused with physical violence if he or she doesn't give up the location of the weapon used in the commission of the offence, then not only will the accused's statement admitting guilt be excluded at his or her trial, but the weapon will also be excluded.
In cases where eyewitness testimony is shaky or uncertain, proving the necessary elements of the offence will require reliance on fingerprints, DNA, hair samples, and other forensic evidence. This occurs frequently during the prosecution of a robbery offence. A well-trained Toronto Robbery Lawyer can effectively challenge the admissibility of forensic evidence on the grounds that they're:
For example, microscopic hair sample comparisons, bite mark comparisons, tire mark comparisons, and handwriting comparisons have all been successfully challenged by Toronto Robbery Lawyers that LawyerSelect.ca works with.
Even if the court finds that the forensic evidence in question is admissible at the accused's trial, a skilled Toronto Robbery Lawyer can still attempt to challenge the validity of said evidence by arguing that the results of the forensic testing were tainted by "motivated perception". Essentially, this means that the scientists who were responsible for conducting the said tests interpreted the results in such a way so as to support the theory of the Crown Attorney and police. A well-versed Toronto Robbery Lawyer may be able to successfully challenge the results of the tests by showing that the scientist who conducted the tests should have done so without knowing the origin of the evidence, thereby negating any possible confirmation bias that he or she may have.
The most obvious consequence to an accused charged with robbery is that, if convicted, they'll have a criminal record. However, this type of offence is perceived by much of society to be a particularly heinous offence, seeing as how it contains both an element of assault, as well as theft. As a result, some of the consequences that may ensue upon conviction include:
The above list is only a fraction of the full list of consequences that can ensue upon conviction for robbery. That's why it's vitally important for anyone charged with robbery to seek the counsel of an experienced and competent Toronto Robbery Lawyer. Do not plead guilty until you know all your rights.
With all that you have at stake, don't risk a conviction for robbery just to save money on legal fees. You'll end up paying more in the end. At LawyerSelect.ca, we specialize in connecting you with the right lawyer for your matter. Whether you have a language barrier, financial constraints, or lack of transportation, we'll ensure you're connected with the right Toronto Robbery Lawyer who speaks your language, is affordable, and lives in your area. We encourage you to call us anytime, 24/7, to get access to the best Toronto Robbery Lawyers. We're available by phone at (416) 419-6959, or online at LawyerSelect.ca, or click the button below for our referral form.